A weekend getaway to Australia’s iconic wine region, Hunter Valley, is often synonymous with indulging in an intoxicating journey of delicious wine and food pairings. But what if you’re not much of a wine enthusiast or prefer to keep it alcohol-free? You might be left wondering if there are things to do in Hunter Valley for non-drinkers.
As someone who prefers to go easy on alcohol, I was looking for things to do in Hunter Valley that didn’t involve wine! That’s why, in this post, I’m sharing some of the most exciting things to do in Hunter Valley that are perfect for non-drinkers.
From relaxing spa treatments to adrenaline-fueled activities and gourmet food experiences, this post has something for everyone who wants to experience the beauty of Hunter Valley without touching a drop of wine!
Read on to discover why Hunter Valley is much more than just a wine lover’s paradise.
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17 Best Things to Do in Hunter Valley for Non-Drinkers
Many non-drinkers may be hesitant to visit this region due to its reputation as a wine destination.
However, for those travelling to Hunter Valley with families or seeking a unique and memorable experience whilst keeping it alcohol-free, Hunter Valley has so much to offer.
1. Explore Different Countries within Hunter Valley Gardens
Located in the heart of Pokolbin, New South Wales, Hunter Valley Gardens offers visitors of all ages an opportunity to immerse themselves in nature’s finest.
Boasting 8 kilometres of walking paths on 14 hectares of expertly manicured grounds, you’ll encounter over 1 million plants, 6,000 trees, and 600,000 shrubs – not to mention cascading waterfalls, intricate murals, and enchanting statues.
The gardens feature 10 internationally themed gardens to explore, including the elegant Rose Garden, the magical Storybook Garden, the exotic Indian Garden, and the serene Chinese Garden, among others.
If you are looking for things to do in Hunter Valley with kids, this attraction is perfect for families! One of our favourite spots was the enchanting Storybook Garden, which features sculptures of classic fairytale characters such as Alice in Wonderland and Humpty Dumpty. Our daughter really enjoyed the different characters which kept her entertained for hours.
For those seeking a more structured experience, the gardens also offer guided tours, making it the perfect destination for families, couples, and solo travellers alike.
📌 Please note that entry to Hunter Valley Gardens is not free to enter, a fact many people are unaware of. It is essential that you purchase entry tickets prior to arrival. Book your tickets here!
2. Take a Hot Air Baloon Ride over the Valley
For a truly unforgettable experience, embark on a hot air balloon ride over the stunning Hunter Valley landscape. You’ll glide through the skies, taking in breathtaking views of lush green vineyards, sun-kissed valleys, and clear blue skies.
And for those seeking a champagne-free experience, worry not: simply request an alcohol-free breakfast upon booking, and celebrate your special occasion with a delicious and refreshing buffet instead.
Don’t forget to bundle up, as mornings can be chilly in the Valley!
This hot air ballooning package includes an English-speaking guide, breakfast, photography, basic insurance, and a 1-hour ballooning experience.
3. Saddle up for Adventure: Horseback Riding in Hunter Valley
If you prefer an adventure closer to land, horseback riding in Hunter Valley provides a unique and adventurous way to explore the region’s awe-inspiring landscape.
It allows you to venture off the beaten path and explore areas often overlooked by visitors, experiencing the natural beauty of the region from a new and unbeatable perspective.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or have never been on a horse before, guided tours and lessons are available throughout the valley. This experience is a must-try for any nature lover and allows riders to indulge in the calm and tranquillity of the outdoors while riding through the vineyards of Hunter Valley.
📌 This relaxed-paced experience is great for beginners and boasts spectacular views of the Brokenback Range! Book now!
4. Enrol in a Hunter Valley Cooking Class
For travellers looking to satisfy their taste buds and dive deeper into Hunter Valley’s rich and diverse culture, taking a local cooking class is an unforgettable experience not to be missed. These classes offer a unique and intangible opportunity to learn about the region’s cuisine and create authentic dishes with local ingredients while allowing you to have fun and make lasting memories.
If you’re travelling to Hunter Valley, don’t leave without trying one of these fantastic cooking classes:
Whether you are looking for a fun, educational experience or want to improve your culinary skills, Hunter Valley’s cooking classes are the perfect activity for any traveler looking for a truly immersive experience in the region. Don’t miss out on these unforgettable experiences and book your spot today!
5. Experience the Hunter Valley from Above With a Scenic Helicopter Ride
It’s hard to describe just how breathtaking a scenic helicopter ride over Hunter Valley can be.
The incredible landscapes, the rolling hills and vibrant vineyards, the winding rivers and the unique wildlife – it’s all spread out below, just waiting to be explored. This is probably one of the most fun things to do in Hunter Valley for non-drinkers!
As someone who’s had the chance to experience this unforgettable helicopter ride, I can tell you that it’s one of the most unique and memorable ways to take in the spectacular beauty of the region. There’s nothing quite like the sound of the roaring engine at take-off, feeling the wind in your hair and the sun shining on your face as you soak in the scenery below.
📌 The awe-inspiring scenery will undoubtedly be etched in your memory for years to come! Book here for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
6. Grape Stomping in Hunter Valley: Experiencing the “Wine Region” for Non-Drinkers
If you’re looking for a unique and entertaining activity that doesn’t require you to be a wine aficionado, grape stomping in Hunter Valley is just what you need.
This traditional method of winemaking dates back centuries, and nowadays, it’s a fun and inclusive experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating winemaking process.
This Grape Stomping package in Polkolbin is great for groups of up to 10 people! perfect if you are on a hen or stag do in Hunter Valley as there are plenty of photo opportunities!
📌Ever wondered why those mushed skins, stems and seeds don’t end up in your glass? Book here to find out!
7. Experience the Unique Tradition of Wine Barrel Rolling!
And after all the grape stomping be sure to take part in some wine barrel rolling!
Wine barrel rolling is a time-honoured tradition in the Hunter Valley wine region that’s still popular today. It’s a fun and quirky activity that’s perfect for groups looking for something different to do. The aim is simple: to roll a large wine barrel downhill while trying to keep it in a straight line.
When I tried wine barrel rolling, I thought it would be a breeze – but boy, was I wrong! Keeping the barrel on track was challenging, but I can’t recall the last time I laughed that much!
If you plan on trying wine barrel rolling, I recommend dressing comfortably and wearing sturdy shoes. The experience is meant to be enjoyable and stress-relieving, so don’t take yourself too seriously.
The minimum group size for this private experience is 8 however, we went with 10 people and I would say the more people the better!
8. Gliding Through Hunter Valley with a Segway Tour
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the beautiful Hunter Valley, a Segway tour is a must-do activity. The quiet paths and rolling hills of Hunter Valley provide a scenic backdrop for an unforgettable adventure.
Riding through the peaceful countryside on a Segway is an experience that rivals riding a segway on the cobblestone streets of Europe or bustling crowds of busy cities.
During my Segway tour of Hunter Valley, I discovered hidden gems and quiet corners that I would have missed if I were on foot. The tour was informative, and the guides were friendly and knowledgeable. The tour included picturesque vineyards, peaceful countryside, and stunning valleys.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or not, a Segway tour of Hunter Valley is an experience you can’t miss. So, explore the beautiful surroundings, indulge in the wonderful scenery and have an adventure you will never forget.
📌 Book your tour today, and discover the beauty of Hunter Valley on a Segway!
9. Electric Bike Adventure in Hunter Valley
Exploring the Hunter Valley wineries is not just about tasting wine, it’s about experiencing the beautiful scenery and the unique culture of the region. One way to do this is by renting an electric bike and cruising through the vineyards at your own pace.
With options for either a half-day or full-day experience, you’ll have plenty of time to stop and admire the stunning views, take photos, and even stop for a picnic lunch. Plus, e-bikes allow you to effortlessly tackle any hills or headwinds, making it a seamless way to explore the region.
This was one of my favourite things to do in hunter valley because I choose my own route and explored at my own pace, making it perfect for solo travellers!
📌 Plus, when you rent a bike, you will receive a local map and a detailed description of the bike’s features. Book now to secure your bike!
Shopping at Hunter Valley’s Best Boutiques and Stores
10. Hunter Valley Shopping Village
Situated beside the entrance to Hunter Valley Gardens, the shopping village is easily accessible and filled with unique stores. During my recent visit, I was impressed by the wide variety of shops available, ranging from handmade crafts to gourmet food products, fashion, jewellery, and home decor.
If you’re interested in crystals, I recommend checking out The Elephant Store! They offer a stunning collection of crystals, as well as other items like minerals, fossils, and gemstone jewellery. Oh and don’t forget a visit to the Christmas store, which is open was open when we went in May!
11. Hunter Valley Markets
Handmade in the Hunter Markets are a great destination for travellers looking to find unique, locally made products. Held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday and Sunday of every month in the grounds of Sorbel Wines, Pokolbin, New South Wales, the markets feature a variety of handmade items from local artisans and makers.
From jewellery to home decor, clothing to food, you can find something special at Handmade in the Hunter Markets.
12. Cheese Tasting in Hunter Valley
If you’re looking for a cheese-tasting experience without wine, then the Hunter Valley is the perfect destination.
The Hunter Valley Cheese Factory in Pokolbin offers an opportunity to participate in cheese making and sample some of their delicious products.
Two Fat Blokes Euro Deli Cafe also provides an amazing cheese-tasting experience with over 30 different varieties of cheese to choose from. You can even enjoy a lunch platter or regional preserves and olives while you taste!
The Hunter Belle Cheese Room is another great option for those who want to skip the wine and just focus on the cheese. They have all the products that Hunter Belle Dairy Co produce, including award-winning cheeses, available for tasting.
No matter what your preference is, there are plenty of options when it comes to cheese tasting in the Hunter Valley.
13. Go Karting in Hunter Valley at Go Karts Go
Located at 202 Neath Road, Kearsley, this 850m long track is the biggest and fastest 4-stroke go-kart hire track in the region. Open from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 8 am to 6 pm on weekends, it’s a great way to spend your day. Prices start from $25 per person for 10 minutes of racing.
The track also offers other activities such as mini golf, playgrounds and more. I personally enjoyed the mini golf course which was perfect for kids under 8 years old! There are also plenty of food options available at the track so you can refuel after a long day of racing.
14. Hunter Valley Wildlife Park (Formerly Hunter Valley Zoo)
Hunter Valley Wildlife Park, formerly known as Hunter Valley Zoo, is located in Nulkaba, New South Wales, Australia.
This 10-acre park is home to a variety of Australian and exotic animals such as monkeys, meerkats, lions and more. Visitors can get up close and personal with the animals through interactive animal experiences and hand-feeding sessions.
The park is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily and offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. If you are looking for special encounters, I highly recommend the Black & White Ruffed Lemur experience, it was a unique experience that really made my day extra special.
A visit to the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park typically takes around half a day, but if you’re looking for more memorable experiences, you can opt for the reptile or meerkat encounters that are available.
Even if you have visited some of the best zoos in Sydney, the Hunter Valley Wildlife Park offers a unique experience in a stunning location and I highly recommend visiting whilst you are here!
Explore the Art Galleries and Museums of Hunter Valley
If you are looking for things to do in Hunter Valley for non-drinkers, one of the most engaging and exciting options is visiting the various art galleries and museums in the region. My personal favourite was the Australian Army Infantry Museum, and highly recommend a visit if you are interested in army memorabilia.
15. Australian Army Infantry Museum
Located on Lone Pine Barracks Road, Singleton, this museum features a vast collection of artefacts, military memorabilia, and weapons. It celebrates the history and heritage of the Australian Infantry Corps and is a must-visit for history buffs.
16. Winmark Art Gallery & Sculpture Park
Set within a beautiful garden landscape in Pokolbin, Winmark Art Gallery is a haven for art lovers. Visitors can admire intricate sculptures, breathtaking paintings, and stunning photographs by talented Australian artists.
17. Enjoy a spa day or wellness retreat
The top health retreat in the Hunter Valley is Elysia Wellness Retreat located in Pokolbin. They offer wellness programs that last from three to seven nights and emphasize fitness, healthy eating, and rejuvenation. You can also enjoy various spa treatments at Elysia Retreat Day Spa to help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated, with specialized therapists offering a wide range of massages and treatments.
The Best Time to Visit Hunter Valley
Enjoy the Perfect Weather, Avoid the Crowds and Experience Exciting Seasonal Festivals
The climate in Hunter Valley is generally moderate all year round. Still, the best time to visit would be from March to May (autumn) and from September to November (spring), as temperatures are milder and more manageable ranging from 10-25°C (50-77°F).
During these periods, the skies are clearer, and you’ll enjoy the most conducive weather conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling.
Peak season in Hunter Valley typically falls from December to February (summer) and June to August (winter)with temperatures ranging from 17-30°C (63-86°F) in summer and 5-15°C (41-59°F) in winter.
These periods attract large crowds, primarily during school holidays, so if you’re looking to escape the bustle of tourist activity, it’s best to avoid visiting during these times.
Seasonal Events at Hunter Valley
Hunter Valley hosts several seasonal events and festivals for non-drinkers and wine lovers each year;
In June, you can participate in the Winter Solstice Festival where you get to experience a cultural feast of music, dance, art, and food.
The Lovedale Long Lunch in May includes a fantastic weekend of food, wine, and jazz in one of the region’s most beautiful locations.
Likewise, the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival held in May/June celebrate the region’s rich and diverse offerings, from farm-to-table experiences to exquisite wine tastings.
I personally loved our trip to Hunter Valley in May; the leaves were a beautiful orange colour, it was incredibly peaceful due to is not being school holiday season and a lot of the activities we took part it were so quite we felt like we got a really personalised experience!
Where to stay in Hunter Valley for non-drinkers
For non-drinkers looking for the perfect place to stay, Hunter Valley has got you covered with its array of unique and exciting accommodations that offer easy access to non-wine-related activities such as hiking, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, and more.
[Budget Option] Hunter Valley Travellers Rest Motel
Staying at Travellers Rest Motel in Hunter Valley was a budget-friendly choice that exceeded my expectations. The comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and convenient location near affordable dining options and the Hunter Valley Gardens, made it an excellent choice for travellers seeking an economical yet enjoyable stay in the region.
[Best for Families] Rydges Resort Hunter Valley
During our family holiday in Hunter Valley, my daughter and I had a delightful stay at the Rydges Resort Hunter Valley Hotel. The hotel’s convenient location allowed us easy access to various family-friendly attractions, and the array of amenities, including the swimming pool and playground, kept my daughter entertained throughout our stay. If you are looking for accommodation in hunter valley for families, the Rydges Resort is an excellent choice.
[Luxury Option] Spicers Guesthouse
Spicers is a luxurious retreat in the Hunter Valley that offers breathtaking views, access to vineyards and restaurants, elegant rooms and suites, gourmet cuisine, and a range of activities, making it the perfect getaway for a little luxury and non-wine-related adventure. Our stay here was absolutely faultless and I’m sure we will be back soon!
Things to Do in Hunter Valley for Non-Drinkers: Final Thoughts
So there you have it, you don’t need to drink to have a great time in the Hunter Valley!
For non-drinkers looking for adventure and cultural enrichment, there are endless opportunities to explore and enjoy. Explore art galleries and museums, indulge in delicious food, take a hot air balloon ride and hike through the beautiful Hunter Valley bushland.
If you’re looking for something more kid-friendly Hunter Valley Gardens offer great fun for the little ones with their storybook garden.
If you’re looking for wine-related activities without actually drinking the wine, try your hand at wine barrel rolling, I promise you’ll have lots of fun!
So, what are you waiting for? Book your next trip to Hunter Valley and immerse yourself in all that this beautiful region has to offer. And while you’re here, don’t forget to share your experiences on social media and tag us – we can’t wait to see what you get up to! #HunterValleyNonDrinkers #Passportdownunder.